Last updated on May 10th, 2023 at 05:18 pm
Want to know about the latest cost of living in Germany in 2023? Learn how much it costs to live in Germany as a young couple with a pet.
We’re only in March and yet, the cost of living in Germany in 2022 is rising sharply.
It’s official now, we are expecting a recession next year in Germany.
According to the press release by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, Destatis, consumer prices rose by
5.3% in February by 1.9% on August 2022. The inflation rate rose by 0.9% compared to January 2022 by +10.0% in September 2022, officials said in a press release.
If you are considering moving to Germany soon, then it might be a great idea to inform yourself about the average cost of living in Germany in 2023, plus how to save money in Germany if you already live here.
1) Real Data: Cost of Living in Germany For a Couple with a Pet
Everyone’s cost of living in Germany can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. Here are the key factors that apply to our household for the past five years.
- We are a two adults household
- We have one small pet (a cat)
- We live in a suburb in South Germany (ca. 30 minutes drive from the nearest big city)
- We live in ca. 80 sqm apartment
- We have one medium-sized car in our household that we use once or twice a week
- Our diet is mostly dairy and plant-based. We buy one or two meat products per month
- One adult is full-time employed
- Other adult is self-employed
- The cat is unemployed 😉
The table below breaks down the major fixed and variable monthly costs of living in Germany for a couple.
MONTHLY FIXED COSTS
Base Rent (Kaltmiete)
MONTHLY VARIABLE COSTS
Travel/ Fuel Cost
Going/ Eating Out
MONTHLY PET CARE COSTS
2) Fixed Monthly Cost of Living in Germany
In this section, you will learn about the fixed monthly cost of living in Germany for a couple. I piled them under ‘fixed costs’ because all of these remain consistent for a few years.
E.g. monthly rent or mortgage or health insurance contributions are adjusted to inflation every few years. This information will be in your contract BTW!
This includes consistent monthly expenses such as:
- Monthly rent
- Health insurance (for self-employed!)
- Liability insurance
- Utility costs such as internet, phone, etc.
2.1) Housing Cost in Germany
Monthly Rent in Germany
Monthly rent in Germany can vary according to the city or region. Generally speaking, rent in Germany is cheaper in suburbs than in the city centre.
Numbeo has a large database of average rent in Germany for various cities.
Overall, you can expect to pay lower rent per square foot the farther you get from the city centre. However, you may need a car or depend on public transport to get around.
There are exceptions to this though. Some small towns which are hosts to some major corporations can have very expensive rents despite being ‘suburbs’.
For example, South Germany’s Herzogenaurach despite being a village is home to three large corporations – Schäeffler, Adidas and Puma. The rents here and in its surrounding area are as high as Erlangen, a neighbouring large city that is home to Siemens and Datev.
Related reading: How to find an apartment in Germany
Mortgage Rate in Germany
If you decide to buy a house or an apartment in Germany, you will have to take out a housing loan.
Homebuyers in Germany usually finance a house and have to fund the initial equity in a lump sum payment themselves. This is typically 30% of the property value.
You can expect 25-30 years of mortgage payments even with the best housing loan offer in Germany.
The average interest rates on German mortgages are around 1-2% per year.
Your monthly mortgage payment in Germany cannot exceed 35-40% of your monthly salary. This measure is to prevent anyone from taking out a mortgage they cannot afford.
My Tip: Calculate your mortgage affordability using this German Mortgage Calculator
Related Reading: How to Get a Housing Loan or a Mortgage in Germany
2.2) Utility Cost in Germany
The cost of home utilities in Germany is included in ‘warm’ rent aka Warmmiete. This is called Nebenkosten and includes heating, water, garbage disposal and other things. You pay this amount as part of the monthly rent Warmmiete to your landlord.
Depending on your location in Germany, Nebenkosten can be usually between 50 and 200€ a month. The amount of Nebenkosten is disclosed in your rental contract so you will always know how much you pay each month.
OK, not gonna lie; energy costs in Germany are pretty inflated in 2022. According to the Destatis report,
household energy prices increased 18.3%, year on year. energy prices were 43.9% higher in September 2022 this year than in the same month last year.
Price rises are recorded for heating oil (+51.9%), natural gas (+32.2%) and electricity (+11.1%).
It is not all gloom and doom though.
One positive news is that the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Thursday plans for an energy relief package worth €150-200 billion ($145-194 billion). More on that later.
The monthly heating cost in Germany depends on the system installed in your home. There are a few methods of heating houses in Germany:
- Solar panels
We pay ca. €2.000 – €2.100/ year in a two-adult household living in an 80 sqm apartment. This is lower than the estimated annual cost and we get refunded about €500 each year.
At the time of writing this article, the heating costs in Germany are as follows:
- Oil (Heizöl) costs 0.69 €/L
- Gas (Erdgas) costs 0.66 €/m³
- Electricity (Strom) costs 0.19 €/kWh
The natural gas cost in Germany is currently 6.41 cents per kWh.
Natural gas is used for multiple purposes in Germany, namely:
- Warm water
The amount of gas you consume depends on several factors:
- Purpose: For heating the apartment, or also for warm water?
- Space: What is the size of your living space?
- Usage: How often do you heat your house?
There are different water suppliers that operate independently in the federal states and municipalities.
The cost of water in Germany highly depends on where you live. Some German cities are pretty expensive when looking at the price for one cubic meter of water (1,000 litres).
At the time of writing this article, the cost of electricity in Germany is 32,62 cents per kWh.
The annual cost of electricity in Germany depends on a few factors, namely:
- The size of the household
- The size of the house
- The amount of electricity usage
- The location in Germany
- The electricity provider in Germany
We pay ca. €515 – €615 consuming 1.400 – 1.700 kWh/ year in a two adult household living in 80 sqm apartment.
You can use this simple calculator by Verivox to calculate the estimated cost of electricity according to the size of the household and consumption.
Otherwise here are some estimations cost of electricity in Germany for most common household sizes:
- A single-person household uses about 1500 kWh and pays between €762 and €972 per year.
- A two-person household uses about 2,500 kWh and pays between €1.180 and €1.500 a year.
- A four-person household uses about 4,000 kWh and pays between €1.800 and €2.400 a year.
Tip for Newbies: Make sure to read the electricity meter during the handover when renting a new apartment in Germany.
2.3) Insurance Cost in Germany
Residents in Germany have to take out several insurances which are paid monthly or yearly. Learn about these mandatory insurances and their average cost in Germany.
Health insurance contribution is the second biggest fixed cost of living in Germany for most German residents.
Freelancers in Germany with public health insurance pay about 16% of their gross monthly income.
Salaried employees pay about 8% of their gross monthly income towards health insurance contributions. The rest of the 8% is covered by their employer.
The cost of health insurance can Germany depends on a number of factors, namely:
- Do you have Public or Private health insurance in Germany?
- How much is your gross monthly income?
- Do you have any dependents in Germany?
- Are you a salaried employee or a self-employed individual?
Related Reading: Health Insurance for Freelancers in Germany
Related Reading: Health Insurance for Expats in Germany
Private liability insurance in Germany is not mandatory, however highly recommended.
Over 80% of German residents have private liability insurance. It is also known as personal liability insurance.
Private liability insurance in Germany protects you from unexpected financial consequences due to accidental damages.
When considering the cost of living in Germany, you should always add the monthly payments towards your private liability insurance plan.
Depending on the provider and your coverage, the cost of private liability insurance can cost between €17 – €70 per year.
My Tip: We use private liability insurance by CosmosDirekt starting at €1,61.
Our liability plan offers the best coverage for a couple with a cat including complete cover for lost keys!
Related Reading: How to Choose the Best Private Liability Insurance in Germany
Contents Insurance in Germany is essential for tenants and homeowners alike.
Home contents insurance allows homeowners and tenants to insure all movable assets, for example, furniture to clothing to electrical gadgets. This insurance covers damages caused by:
- Lightning, explosion or implosion
- Storm and hail
- Flooding and water leakage
- The insurance cover can be extended by additional contract elements, such as bicycle theft.
My Tip: GetSafe offers affordable house contents insurance starting from under €25 per year. Their services are entirely in English as well.
Homeowners in Germany are highly recommended to take out homeowners’ insurance.
This protects them from various unseen financial consequences in case of accidental damage to their house.
My Tip: Cosmos Direkt offers affordable homeowner’s insurance starting from €9,63 per month.
Related Reading: THREE Essential Insurance for Every Homeowner in Germany
Car liability insurance or Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung is compulsory for anyone who drives a private car in Germany.
If you own a car, you must have car insurance.
Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung covers damages caused to third parties as a result of an accident.
Money-Saving Tip: GetSafe offers car insurance starting from €15,99 per month.
3) Variable monthly cost of living in Germany
The variable cost of living in Germany includes expenses that can vary according to a number of factors such as consumption levels, international conflicts, demand and supply etc.
- Food and Drinks
- Clothing or Fashion
- Fuel costs
- Leisure costs
3.1) Food and Drinks
Cost of Food and Groceries in Germany
Food prices in Germany were up 5.0% in January 2022 compared to the same month of the previous year.
As of March 2022, consumers in Germany have to pay more for fresh vegetables (+8.3%), dairy products and butter (+6.3%).
Meat products also cost 4.2% more than the same period a year earlier.
Money-Saving Tip: Diversify and add alternative sources of protein to your diet. Several cuisines from Asian countries such as India, China, Thailand etc. have been using soy-based and plant-based proteins for centuries. It is finally possible to find these products in Germany too!
Related reading: How to live as a vegetarian in Germany
Cost of Drinking Water in Germany
Drinking tap water is safe in Germany, however, many people in Germany buy packaged drinking water from supermarkets.
On average, consumption of two litres per day cost you 60 euros per month.
Drinking water in Germany is one of the most regulated in the world and checked for quality multiple times a day.
Moreover, the cost of water in Germany is already included in the “Nebenkosten” of your monthly rent.
Money-Saving Tip: If you do not like the taste of drinking water in Germany, you can buy a high-quality water filter such as Brita.
Or invest in a water carbonator such as SodaStream.
Related reading: Drinking Water in Germany
3.2) Fashion and Clothing
Monthly expenses on clothing depend on your personal taste, requirements and budget. Germany has everything to offer – from premium designer brands to the cheapest fast fashion stores.
The pre-loved and thrifted clothing is making a huge wave in Germany thanks to online stores like Momox Fashion.
I have been (proudly!) fast-fashion free since 2017 and I am happy to keep it that way. My wardrobe philosophy is a mix of ‘buy it for life’, mending and thrifting.
I found Momox Fashion a few months ago and have already ordered high-quality clothing and footwear three times from them. So far I am very impressed with the effort that they put in refurbishing the items.
If you are moving to Germany from a warmer region of the world, I highly recommend buying winter wear locally. Proper winter clothing in Germany might be more expensive, but it lasts for years and protects you from harsh German winter.
Money-Saving Tip: If you are on a tight budget, go to Momox Fashion and look for a renowned outerwear or winterwear brand like Jack Wolfskin, Patagonia, Wellensteyn, Fjällräven etc.
Related Reading: Where to buy sustainable and second-hand clothing in Germany
3.3) Travel and Fuel
Travelling By Car in Germany
At the time of writing this article, Germans have to pay €2.13 for a litre of gasoline at the pump.
The cost of diesel in Germany is €2.25 per litre, more expensive than gasoline for the first time in history despite government subsidies.
The price spike for diesel was caused by the increased demand for heating oil. Many consumers fear supply bottlenecks due to the Russo-Ukraine crisis.
At this point the situation is volatile and we can expect even higher fuel costs in Germany.
Money-Saving Tip: Car sharing is a great way to save up on fuel costs. You pay only for the journey and not the car or the fuel. Learn more about car sharing in Germany here
Traveling with Deutsche Bahn
Deutsche Bahn regularly offers special deals on its website. In March 2022, they are offering a Super Sparpreis deal
Money-Saving Tip: Check out their latest SuperSaver fares starting from € 21,50 on their English website. Read this detailed guide to public transport in Germany for more ways to save on travel costs.
3.4) Leisure and Lifestyle
I’m using leisure as an umbrella term for entertainment, hobbies, socialising, streaming services, going out, eating out etc.
All major streaming services are available in Germany.
As of 2022, these are the monthly subscription costs for major streaming services in Germany.
- Netflix: €12,99
- Amazon Prime: €7,99 (This also includes Amazon Prime delivery!)
- AppleTV: €4,99
The cost of cinema tickets in Germany depends on the city. In Nuremberg for example, you can pay anything between €8 to €20 per person.
Typically for us, a trip to the cinema costs about €35 – €40 including snacks and drinks.
A full night for a pub crawl does not cost a lot of money. At €2.5 per pint, beer is pretty inexpensive in Germany.
A glass of a not so fancy wine may start from €3,50.
At an Imbiss/ German fast food place, you can get kebabs or currywurst for about €3 – €6.
In Germany, a typical fast food meal costs €8 for a McMeal at McDonald’s or BurgerKing (or a similar combo meal), and €2,40 for a cheeseburger.
At a mid-range restaurant, the price for a meal may vary between €8 to €14.
You can treat yourself to a local one-star Michelin restaurant in Germany with menus starting from €100 per person.
If you want to meet up with your friends over coffee, you can expect to shell out €2,90 for cappuccino and €2,00 for espresso.
My Tip: Online food delivery services like Lieferando connect you to a number of pizzerias and restaurants in your neighbourhood. You can easily order full meals, pizzas for as little as €8 per person.
Hobbies are extremely personal and the monthly expenditure can vary according to how ‘costly’ your hobby is.
Board games are a big hobby in our household. Reading is a close second. We rarely buy new items except for books in English which are not so common to find in second-hand stores in Germany.
Board games, video games and books are easily available from a number of second-hand stores – online or brick & mortar shops.
Amazon.de has sellers offering used board games as well as books. Momox.de also has a large collection of second-hand CDs, DVDs, books, games etc.
You can travel across Germany using public or private transport. If you are a foreigner in Germany without a German driving licence you will have to rely on a bus or train.
Travel by train across Germany
- Use DB’s best prices finder to find the latest saving offers on DB trains (in English)
- Find the best offers on DB day tickets per region (in English)
Travel by car across Germany
Road trips are extremely common in Germany. Car sharing services are becoming more and more mainstream. If you do not own a car in Germany, you can still drive (granted you have a valid driving licence!)
SHARE NOW is a car-sharing service with an EU-wide network, the largest one in Germany.
SHARE NOW offers car-sharing for as low as 0,09 € per minute. This cost covers the fixed costs of car loans, car insurance, fuel, and overall maintenance – saving you tons of money in the long run.
4) Additional cost of living in Germany in 2022
In this section, I discuss additional lifestyle-related costs of living in Germany such as gym membership, pet ownership.
4.1) Cost of gym membership in Germany
The cost of gym membership in Germany varies from city to city.
According to data collected by Statista, the average cost of monthly gym membership cost €42.
Since several gyms faced closure during COVID-19 lockdown nationwide, many residents in Germany turned to home gyms and invested in simple workout gear.
If you are unable to find a gym close to your home, you can also look into buying home workout equipment.
Here is what our ‘interim’ home gym consists of:
4.2) Cost of owning a cat in Germany
Cats are perceived as low maintenance pets, however, they require regular care.
We have had a cat for the past three years now. Here is an approximate breakdown of our costs of cat care in Germany.
- Monthly cat food (Wet and Dry): €30 – €40
- Monthly cat litter: €10 – €15
- Biodegradable cat poop bags: €4 – €10
- One-time XXL cat litter box: €35
- Occasional cat toys: €20
- Yearly vet visits: ca. €100
4.3) Cost of owning a dog in Germany
Dog parents in Germany have more legal obligations than cat parents. Here are some of the costs to keep in mind before getting a dog in Germany.
Dog Liability Insurance
Dog liability insurance is a must for those who own a dog in Germany.
Without dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung), the dog owner is liable for damages caused by their dogs with ALL their assets.
A good dog liability insurance costs between €20 to €75 per year.
Related Reading: How to Choose the Best Dog Liability Insurance in Germany
Dog tax in Germany is determined by the local municipalities and the amount depends on your place of residence. When you buy a dog in Germany you can expect to pay anything between €50 and €100 per year.
Tips on how to save money in Germany in 2023
Click here to check out their selection of Asian vegetarian food in Germany.
The cost of drinking water in Germany is already included in the “Nebenkosten” of your monthly rent.
Online food delivery services like Lieferando connect you to a number of pizzerias and restaurants in your neighbourhood. You can easily order full meals, and pizzas for as little as €8 per person.
If you are on a tight budget for clothing, go thrifting on Momox Fashion.
Car sharing is a great way to save up on fuel costs. You pay only for the journey and not the car or the fuel.
SHARE NOW is one of the biggest car-sharing providers in Germany. You can use their services for as low as 0,19 € per minute, which covers the fixed costs of car loans, car insurance, fuel prices in Germany, and overall maintenance.
Check out Deutsche Bahn’s latest SuperSaver fares on their English website.